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How accurate can a 30-30 be?

This is a discussion on How accurate can a 30-30 be? within the Lever Action forums, part of the Gun Forum category; I only made one trip to the range with it so far. Using factory ammo of unknown loading. Group was miserable, even compared to my ...


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Old October 15th, 2011, 12:20 PM   #1
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How accurate can a 30-30 be?

I only made one trip to the range with it so far. Using factory ammo of unknown loading. Group was miserable, even compared to my M14 that has some problems still. 100 yd group was about 5 wide by 8" tall.

How good can it get ? What loads?

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Old October 15th, 2011, 12:31 PM   #2
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I've never shot paper with my marlin 30-30 lever action but at aprox 150 yards, with a cheap scope i shot the lid of a milk jug. It could have been luck, but its accurate enough for me.

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Old October 15th, 2011, 12:51 PM   #3
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Last year i restored a 94 winchester from 1951. Had been left next to a window in a barn for years. Luckily i found a n.o.s. Tube from the same year. I installed a rear vintage redfield peep sight because of my eyes.

Bore sighted it with laser collimator then took it to my range. Fired two rounds from bench at 50 yds, they were in the center of bull and spaced 1-1/4" apart. That was all i fired, this is now a jeep gun. Ammo was factory winchester silvertip. That was all the shooting i needed with it. Using the open sight would have opened the group to about 8".

This turned out to be a $50.00 gun which in a p.c. State like this is safer to carry in jeep. It will get me home in a crunch without me looking like rambo.

I would guess the open sights are your biggest problem unless there is bore problems.


Last edited by SOCOM42; October 15th, 2011 at 01:57 PM.
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Old October 15th, 2011, 12:58 PM   #4
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With a decent scope and good ammo you can easily tighten that group up. Try the Hornady Lever Evolution. I took my Marlin 336 out to 200 yards with that.

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Old October 15th, 2011, 01:09 PM   #5
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I’ve had several .30-30s, both Marlin 336s and Win. 94s. All of them would/will put 5 shots into 4” at 100 yds. with Fed and Rem 170 grain factory loads. One 94 that I wish I still had would do much better. I never used a scope on a .30-30, only the factory irons. I would think that your .30-30 would be good for at least 4” five shot groups at 100 yards. If the best it will do is 5”x8” groups at 100 yards something is haywire. Maybe you could put a scope on it and see if it does any better.

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Old October 15th, 2011, 01:09 PM   #6
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Almost always good for minute of deer.
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Old October 15th, 2011, 01:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nf1e@snet.net View Post
Almost always good for minute of deer.
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What size deer? ;^)

I saw a nice rack locally. Volley ball size, you could do a good full size imitation of it by putting your wrists together and spreading your fingers. More points to the rack than fingers on MY hands though.

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Old October 15th, 2011, 01:38 PM   #8
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It's sort of random whether an "untweaked" '94 will shoot well or not. One of the most accurate I ever had was a Sears branded version. 1 1/4 to 2" groups with factory ammo at 100yds. (peep sights!) If it can't be made to shoot 4" or less at 100yd then move it along or retire it.

Rifle Accuracy Facts by Harold Vaughn has quite a few tips on maximizing the potential of lever actions amongst other type of actions.


Last edited by jmoore; October 15th, 2011 at 03:49 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old October 15th, 2011, 02:20 PM   #9
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try diff types of ammo and see what she likes best

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Old October 15th, 2011, 02:41 PM   #10
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I have a Sears version and with 125 gr Sierra HPs I get good groups out to 75 yards. This is my only experience with the .30-30 and I'm pretty pleased with it.

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Old October 15th, 2011, 03:18 PM   #11
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There's no reason the .30-30 cartridge shouldn't be as accurate as any other round. It's mostly a question of the rifle.

I'd guess there's some old Remington 788s that were factory chambered in .30-30 out there that can be coaxed to shoot sub-MOA pretty easily. Getting a lever gun to do so may take more work, some absolutely would need a new better quality barrel, but it's just a matter of what you need the rifle to do and how much time, energy and money you are willing to expend.

BTW, If you can get the rifle to shoot well, then try some of the new Leverevolution rounds from Hornady. These rounds can make a 200yd rifle out of a .30-30, IF the rifle and shooter are up to the task.

Here's a link to an early article on the "new" Hornady round:

http://www.chuckhawks.com/leverevolution.htm

Their newer '94 with a 2.5x scope averaged 1.44" groups at 100yds. Maybe yes, maybe not, but it seems not farfetched from my experience.

Thanks from Swamp Rat

Last edited by jmoore; October 15th, 2011 at 04:00 PM.
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Old October 15th, 2011, 04:32 PM   #12
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I'd question gun or shooter. As a RO on the 50yd range and deer season quickly on the way I'm seeing a lot of 30-30s right now. They are all drilling bull-eyes. Some even come close to clover leaf shots at 50yards. I cannot see their shot groups going all to hell at 100yards.

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Old October 15th, 2011, 05:17 PM   #13
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In Winchesters case it depends!! The round itself can be very accurate depending on the gun and when it was made.

What i am saying is Winchester Lever Action M-94's accuracy depends on who owned Winchester at the time, their quality expectations and the financial health of the parent company. Some years they just cobbled the damn things together other years they made excellent guns.

To answer your question Most can get 1.5 to 2.5 inch groups with agreeable ammo............the lean year guns 4-5 inches!!

Just the the cookie crumbles when winchester got in financial straights they shot for quantity sales instead of quality production.

Thanks from jmoore and MesaRifle
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Old October 15th, 2011, 05:47 PM   #14
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This is a '71 Saddle ring Carbine that I've rebarreled with a barrel from an 'Antlered Game commemorative. Barrel was cheap, $25 IIRC, but looks like new. Receiver has had less than one box through it. It came with my M25 Win shotgun and a 22 bolt action. I'ver had it 30 years waiting for re-assembly. With my new custom stock, it is the best looking gun I own.

So it ain't wore out,

But I haven't found any load recommendations for accuracy. Seems the action has a limit of about 40,000 PSI, even in the .307, so M!$ loads are no-go..

I don't have dies yet, I wonder if I can pull the bullets in the rest of the box, and reload with known components? Then re-seat in some 308 dies? Hmmm, lemme try something.... yup, a 30-30 empty will fit into a .308 seating die... loosely... might be worth a try ? I've got some 125gr flat hollows, and some 150 gr point soft nose... H4895, and IMR 4227. Unique is no help.

We'll see...

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Old October 15th, 2011, 07:08 PM   #15
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If you are going to buy powder for this project, Hornady has teamed with Hogdon's and released a special powder that is designed to work well with their LeverEvolution bullets that are now sold as components so you can build your own. Check with the respective manufacturers for their recommendations on this roughly year old development- older load data books won't help at all here.

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